The Arts District is set to get another sugar rush.
Chocolates By Kelly is set to relocate from Manchester into a 1,500-square-foot downtown retail space at 414 W. Broad St., confirmed fifth-generation chocolatier and owner Kelly Walker Wombold.
She’ll set up shop a block from another sweet new arrival in the neighborhood: Charm School ice cream shop at 311 W. Broad St.
“The area is really growing, we like what is happening down there and we’re glad that we’re finally going to be a part of the community,” Wombold said.
Wombold, who launched the company in 2008, owns Chocolates By Kelly with business partner Dan Steiner of West End accounting firm Steiner Business Solutions.
The new shop is set to open Nov. 22, Kelly said. An invitation-only event is set for Nov. 21.
Ann Schweitzer, broker with Richmond-based One South Commercial, represented the landlord in the lease deal.
Chocolates By Kelly currently operates out of a commissary kitchen and warehouse space in the Manchester neighborhood, and previously had stints in Forest Hill and Church Hill.
With its move downtown, Wombold said the space’s large bay windows and open layout will allow for her customers to take in the full experience of how her chocolates are born.
“People kept asking us, ‘Kelly, when are you going to get a brick-and-mortar location?’ Where we are now, no one gets to see how we make the chocolates, what goes into the chocolate-making process,” Wombold said. “Now, with us moving downtown, they’ll be able to see what goes into the process…it’s what our customers wanted.”
Plans call for Chocolates By Kelly to sell a number of items, including chocolate-covered pretzels, nuts and fruits. The location will also serve hot chocolate, coffee and tea, Wombold said, and may eventually serve beer and wine.
The location will be true to a candy store concept – limited seating and lots of chocolate candies filling cases and apothecaries, allowing customers to buy candies by the pound. Wombold will also host chocolate-making classes for the curious and large parties.
“The possibilities are endless now that we are going to be in this location,” Wombold said. “We want to showcase what we are, and have the opportunity to grow our business.”
With the move into the burgeoning Arts District, Steiner said the company hopes to capitalize their new location by drumming up business with neighboring retailers and hotels.
“We look at this move as a way to grow,” Steiner said. “There is a lot of opportunity for us to grow our partnerships by reaching out to businesses in the area.”
That includes working with Quirk Hotel, roughly a block away; as well as the Jefferson and Linden Row hotels, Steiner said.
He added that the move will also allow Chocolates By Kelly to focus on its custom chocolate-making business – a part of the business that has seen steady growth with area companies that use the candy for campaigns or corporate branding.
“We’re basically becoming the Vista Print of chocolate,” Steiner said. “Anything that people or companies are looking for, Kelly can create.”
In addition to Charm School, other recent arrivals along that stretch of Broad include shirt-maker Ledbury, boot-maker Rider Boot and a new boutique for wedding planner Isha Foss Design.
With her new shop coming on quickly, Wombold said she’s excited about her future on West Broad Street.
“This has been a long time coming,” Wombold said. “Being in this location is going to be good for our business and our future growth.”
Congrats to Chocolates by Kelly! I remember when you first started off Westover Hills Boulevard below Blanchards. I’ve enjoyed watching you grow and have shared your treats every year with clients across VA, MD and DC for a taste of something locally made in Richmond.